'What simple thief brags of his attaint?'
It's been more than 400 years since Shakespeare penned this question in his play, 'A Comedy of Errors'. However, it is a pertinent question that should be asked of Australia's Liberal Party.
This is a party that boasts of its attaint, boasts of its disgrace, boasts of its dishonour, boasts of its deplorable abuse of innocent people.
Perhaps the most obvious attaint is the Liberal Party's illegal treatment of asylum seekers. Former Prime Minister John Howard was quick to label asylum seekers as illegal, even though this wasn't true. A dip in the polls? Bust out another attack on asylum seekers, innocent victims of war and terrorism.
Yet the Liberal Party has, for the last 20 years, been victimising the victims. They've broken international laws(1) on torture(2), refugees (including detainment(3) and refoulement(4)) and children(5). Rather than listen to international condemnation, the Liberal government was so proud of their attaint that Abbott stated he was 'sick of being lectured to by the United Nations' about torturing people(6). This from a man who even donated Royal Australian Navy vessels to Sri Lanka(7) so that people fleeing the brutality of that state could be rounded up and imprisoned, tortured, disappeared.
Who are the illegals here?
The Liberal Party under John Howard, led Australia into the illegal invasion of Iraq based on lies. More than a decade later, this action has culminated in the rise of extremism and most notably, ISIS, in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Yet, Australia perpetuates the persecution of the victims of this war by imprisoning or refouling them when they seek our help.
The Libs are so proud of their attaint as they use it to boost their popularity and power. They've stolen the lives and futures of the victims for political advantage.
The demonisation and victimisation doesn't just stop with refugees. The Liberal Party is so proud of its attaint, that the Attorney-General defended the right to be bigots(8) and supported amendments to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to allow hate speech so that the bigots could 'offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate'.
This was no surprise of course, because in 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Labor Party) issued an apology to the Stolen Generations for decades of abuse of indigenous people and the theft of their children at the hands of government. The Liberal Party's response? Some of their MPs boycotted it(9). Boycotted apologising for stealing children. Former Prime Minister Howard stated that Australia had nothing to be sorry for(10). No wonder some Liberals don't even believe the Stolen Generation existed(11). What an attaint to be proud of: the theft of generations of children.
More recently, the Liberal Party perpetuated its culture of bullying and victimisation by attacking the anti-bullying program 'Safe Schools' which is aimed at reducing the bullying of LGBTIQ students. Influential extremist MPs such as Cory Bernardi have made all sorts of wild claims, including homosexuality leading to bestiality or pedophilia. Rather than bringing these MPs into line, the Prime Minister has defended them. It's a bit rich of Bernardi and Christensen to claim they are only upholding Christian values while they condone the torture of refugees, including children.
Bullying: just one more of the Liberal Party's attaint.
The Liberal Party has been consistently attacking Islam and giving voice to the bigots and Islamophobes(12), with a corresponding rise in anti-Islamic political party's and groups, as well as a rise in violence against Muslims(13). Not surprisingly, a recent report has found that most Islamophobes vote for conservative parties, particularly the Liberal Party(14).
The Liberal Party's defense of Israel's illegal occupation and human rights abuses in Palestine is another attaint. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop even reinvented international law for the convenience of defending her party's position(15). Meanwhile, Israel continues the expansion of its illegal settlements in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, it continues using illegal weapons(16) on Palestinians, committing war crimes(17), and arbitrarily detains, punishes and tortures children(18). All with the support of the Liberal Party.
Perhaps the most surprising thing however, is that workers are so willing to vote for a party who consistently attacks workers rights. Howard tried to roll-out Work Choices which undermined the collective bargaining of the workforce and weakened penalty rates. Workers did reject this and voted Howard out of office on the basis of it. However, since then, Abbott and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have turned up the attacks on workers and their conditions. There was an $80 million royal commission into Union corruption which uncovered only a few instances of corruption(19). It was a political witch-hunt dressed up as protecting workers, when in fact it was used to discredit Unions in order to soften up workers for further attacks by the Liberal Party.
Meanwhile, successive budgets from the governing Liberal Party have maintained the attack on workers, the low-paid, the poor, while giving more money to the rich and big business(20).
And the Liberal Party continues to be proud of its attaint as it embraces the failed 'trickle-down economics' theory(21) which has only made the rich richer and the poor poorer. The Liberal Party consistently and blatantly attack the poor while defending the rich. They distract from this by running fear campaigns against asylum seekers and terrorism. Like snake-oil salesmen they try to sell the promise of untold wealth for all if we give our hard-earned to the already wealthy(22). And the people believe the lie.
What about climate change? Tony Abbott got so much mileage from accusing Julia Gillard of lying about introducing a carbon 'tax', that it arguably won him the 2013 election. Yet the lie was his. Gillard didn't introduce a carbon tax, she introduce a carbon pricing mechanism which she had stated she was going to do prior to the election(23). Abbott even attended a protest against the carbon price and proudly took centre stage with vulgar sexist signs behind him, stating 'Juliar - Bob Brown's Bitch' and 'Ditch the Witch'. This piece of blatant lying and sexism wasn't Abbott's attaint alone; he was accompanied by two female MPs, Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella. One would have thought that women would stand up against such abusive sexism against another woman, but no, they also were proud to be filmed in front of the offensive signs.
Is it any wonder, that then Prime Minister Julia Gillard eventually attacked then Opposition Leader Abbott's hypocrisy on sexism when she delivered one of Parliament's finest speeches in decades(24), declaring:
I say to the Leader of the Opposition I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. And the Government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever. The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well I hope the Leader of the Opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation. Because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror. That's what he needs.
When elected to government, Abbott axed the 'tax' and introduced a 'Direct Action' policy which paid polluters to reduce carbon emissions rather than making them pay for their emissions(25). Essentially, the Libs want to reward polluters rather than penalise them. The government has a foot in both camps on climate change. It pays lip service to carbon reduction, but at its heart it doesn't really accept climate change. So much so, that it pressured the United Nations into removing Australia from a report on the impact of climate change because it might damage tourism to the country(26).
They're so proud of their attaint, they'd rather steal the future from our children than lose money.
The Liberal Party's modus operandi is to outlaw dissent, victimise the victims and denigrate anyone who dares criticise them. Case in point, is Gillian Triggs, Australia's Human Rights Commissioner. The Human Rights Commission is an independent body, but when Triggs released a report that exposed the extent and effects of the Government's abusive policies on children in detention. Rather than actually improve their policy so children aren't being harmed as a result of it, senior members of the government attacked Triggs and tried to force her to resign(27). Further to this, the government has made it illegal for whistleblowers to expose abuse in immigration detention centres with the threat of up two years in detention(28).
The government has reduced funding to non-government organisations who have interests contrary to government policy or who criticise it. They have cut back funding to the ABC and SBS, even though then Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a promise that there would be no cuts to the ABC or SBS. Remember how Abbott worked the 'lie' from Gillard regarding the carbon 'tax', yet when Abbott lied to become Prime Minister that was fine(29). The Liberal Party has not been a fan of ABC or SBS because they tend to question government policies. It's as though the Liberals would rather run ABC and SBS like the Soviet Union ran TASS: namely as it's official mouthpiece.
The Liberal Party governing Australia is not one that is governing in the interests of Australians. It is employing some of the worst examples of despotic governments in order to control the population: persecution, torture, refoulement, imprisonment without charge, fear-mongering, racism and xenophobia, sexism, turning the people on each other, undermining democracy and free speech, amongst others.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this is that the Liberals are so proud of how they are abusing people, democracy and power.
What simple thief brags of his own attaint?
|Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, with MPs Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella, openly embracing the vitriolic sexism of anti-carbon price protesters(30)|
Why did Shakespeare ask this question? It was part of a tirade from Luciana to her brother-in-law, Antipholus of Syracuse, in which she was berating him over his affection for her. She felt that 'tis doubly wrong to truant with your bed and let her read it in they looks at board'. In other words, it is bad enough having no morals, but even worse to rub one's turpitude in the face of those who are being wronged.
The Australian government's behaviour is no comedy of errors. It is cold, calculated, deliberate. All with one goal in mind: shore up political power.
Boasting of their baseness furthers the psychological abuse of the Liberal Party's victims and compounds the victimisation and demonisation. And we see the results of this in the depths of despair and hopelessness that has engulfed asylum seekers, in the self-harm and the suicides. These deaths and injuries are the direct result of abusive government policy and a government boasting of its torture, boasting of its attaint, sacrificing lives for political power.
Most miscreants at least pretend to live respectable lives. The Liberal Party flourishes in its debasement and expects the populace to still vote for them, to welcome them as the Saviours of the Land Down Under. They represent themselves as being the only ones who can keep the population safe from the bleeding hearts who would dare to treat people with respect and dignity, who would dare to help the victims of war and persecution, who would dare to speak up for the oppressed, who would dare to expect workers to be paid a living wage, who would dare to demand government provide essential services, who dare to hold government to account.
The more lives destroyed by the Liberal Party, the better for their popularity as they boast that they are tough on border security, tough on terrorism, tough on economics. They aren't being tough, they are being brutal.
Innocent people suffer as the Liberal Party brags of its attaint and brutality.
1. United Nations, 'Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees', http://www.unhcr.org/protect/PROTECTION/3b66c2aa10.pdf. Accessed 29 May 2016.
2. Human Rights Law Centre, 'UN finds Australia's treatment of asylum seekers violates the Convention Against Torture', 9 March 2015, http://hrlc.org.au/un-finds-australias-treatment-of-asylum-seekers-violates-the-convention-against-torture. Accessed 29 May 2016.
3. The Guardian, Ben Doherty, 'Australia's indefinite detention of refugees illegal, UN rules', 18 May 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/may/18/australias-indefinite-detention-of-refugees-illegal-un-rules. Accessed 29 May 2016.
4. The Guardian, Richard Ackland, 'Handing back asylum seekers is called refoulement. And it's illegal', 7 July 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/07/handing-back-asylum-seekers-is-called-refoulement-and-its-illegal. Accessed 29 May 2016.
5. The Guardian, Helen Davidson, 'Prolonged detention is 'state-sanctioned child abuse', says head of doctors' group', 21 February 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/feb/21/prolonged-detention-is-state-sanctioned-child-abuse-says-head-of-doctors-group. Accessed 29 May 2016.
6. The Age, Lisa Cox, 'Tony Abbott: Australians 'sick of being lectured to' by United Nations, after report finds anti-torture breach', 10 March 2015, http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-australians-sick-of-being-lectured-to-by-united-nations-after-report-finds-antitorture-breach-20150309-13z3j0.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.
7. The Sydney Morning Herald, Ben Doherty, 'Tony Abbott's boats gift to Sri Lanka comes under fire', 18 November 2013, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbotts-boats-gift-to-sri-lanka-comes-under-fire-20131117-2xp5z.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.
8. ABC News, Emma Griffiths, 'George Brandis defends 'right to be a bigot' amid Government plan to amend Racial Discrimination Act', 24 March 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-24/brandis-defends-right-to-be-a-bigot/5341552. Accessed 29 May 2016.
9. The Age, Misha Schubert and Dewi Cooke, 'Outspoken Liberal MP defends apology boycott', 15 February 2008, http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/outspoken-liberal-mp-defends-apology-boycott/2008/02/14/1202760494786.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.
10. The Sydney Morning Herald, Anne Davies, 'Nothing to say sorry for: Howard', 12 March 2008, http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/nothing-to-say-sorry-for-howard/2008/03/11/1205125911444.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.
11. The Australian, Samantha Maiden, 'Lib MP denies Stolen Generations exist', 13 February 2008, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/lib-mp-denies-stolen-generations-exist/story-e6frg6nf-1111115544009. Accessed 29 May 2016.
12. The New Daily, John Stapleton, 'How Tony Abbott made Australia a more dangerous place', 7 October 2015, http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/10/07/tony-abbott-made-australia-dangerous-place. Accessed 29 May 2016.
13. ABC, The World Today, Eleanor Hall, 'Register documents rising violence against Muslim Women', 24 September 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2014/s4093692.htm. Accessed 29 May 2016.
14. Huffington Post, Josh Butler, 'Australian Islamophobia Study Released', 4 April 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/01/14/australia-islamophobia-study_n_8984304.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.
15. The Sydney Morning Herald, Saeb Erekat, 'Julie Bishop reinvents international law in her support of Israeli settlements', 24 January 2014, http://www.smh.com.au/comment/julie-bishop-reinvents-international-law-in-her-support-of-israeli-settlements-20140123-31be0.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.
16. Middle East Monitor, 'Military Expert: Israel is using 3 internationally banned weapons in Gaza', 4 August 2014, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20140804-military-expert-israel-is-using-3-internationally-banned-weapons-in-gaza/. Accessed 29 May 2016.
17. Al Jazeera, Megan O'Toole, ''Strong evidence' of Israeli war crimes in Gaza', 29 July 2015, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/evidence-israeli-war-crimes-gaza-interactive-15072810-150728133534137.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.
18. The Electronic Intifada, Nora Burrows-Friedman, 'Israelis Torturing Palestinian Children', 10 April 2007, https://electronicintifada.net/content/israelis-torturing-palestinian-children/6853. Accessed 29 May 2016.
19. New Matilda, Dr Dustin Halse, 'Reflections on the TURC From a Union Official', 12 January 2016, https://newmatilda.com/2016/01/12/reflections-on-the-turc-from-a-union-official. Accessed 29 May 2016.
20. Independent Australia, John Passant, 'A budget of smoke and mirrors', 4 May 2016, https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/a-budget-of-smokers-and-mirrors,8950. Accessed 29 May 2016.
21. ABC, The Drum, Michael Bradley, 'We're being sold the trickle-down economics con', 12 May 2016, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-12/bradley-why-are-we-being-sold-the-trickle-down-economics-con/7406844. Accessed 29 May 2016.
22. Independent Australia, David Tyler, 'The Turnbull Show's nasty accident with reality', 16 May 2016, https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-turnbull-shows-nasty-accident-with-reality,8991. Accessed 29 May 2016.
23. The Courier Mail, Paul Syvret, 'Why Julia Gillard didn't lie about her carbon tax plans before election', 9 July 2012, http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/why-julia-gillard-didnt-lie-about-her-carbon-tax-plans-before-election/story-e6frerdf-1226421929786. Accessed 29 May 2016.
24. Parliament of Australia, 'House of Representatives - Hansard, 09 Oct 2012 - Motions - Julia Gillard MP', http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F5a0ebb6b-c6c8-4a92-ac13-219423c2048d%2F0039%22. Accessed 29 May 2016.
25. ABC News, Daniel Miller, 'What is the Coalition's direct action climate change policy?', 24 April 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-20/coalition-climate-change-direct-action-policy-explained/5067188. Accessed 29 May 2016.
26. The Guardian, Michael Slezak, 'Australia scrubbed from UN climate change report after government intervention', 27 May 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/27/australia-scrubbed-from-un-climate-change-report-after-government-intervention. Accessed 29 May 2016.
27. The Age, Hugh de Kretser, 'Attacks on our Human Rights Commissioner are part of a broader malaise', 25 February 2015, http://www.theage.com.au/comment/attacks-on-our-human-rights-commission-are-part-of-a-broader-disturbing-trend-20150225-13o6e8.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.
28. Sydney Morning Herald, Sarah Whyte, 'Doctors and teachers gagged under new immigration laws', 4 June 2015, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/doctors-and-teachers-gagged-under-new-immigration-laws-20150603-ghft05.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.
29. Parliament of Australia, 'Matters of Public Importance - Prime Minister', (Bill Shorten speech), 25 June 2015, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Fbcc6cf79-e37b-4f70-9a20-0ddc17522ca5%2F0187%22. Accessed 29 May 2016.
30. The Sydney Morning Herald, James Massola, 'Julia Gillard on the moment that should have killed Tony Abbott's career', 23 June 2015, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/julia-gillard-on-the-moment-that-should-have-killed-tony-abbotts-career-20150622-ghug63.html. Accessed 29 May 2016.